We’ve all been there, counting the number of tiles on the floor while stuck listening to a presenter drone on as they shuffle through PowerPoint slides on something we couldn’t care less about. But a new political party in Switzerland is making dislike of PowerPoint a political issue. The presentation medium of choice, Microsoft’s PowerPoint has come under fire for being uninformative, boring, and hurting our ability to think. The New York Times even warned about the U.S. military’s use of PowerPoint to convey its strategy declaring, “We Have Met the Enemy and He Is PowerPoint.” Now, the Anti-PowerPoint Party is taking a political stand, rallying behind the cause to make PowerPoint illegal in Switzerland.
The Anti-PowerPoint Party claims that the use of the presentation software costs the Swiss economy approximately 2.1 billion Swiss Francs a year (US $2.5billion). They base their calculation on reportedly unverified assumptions about the number of employees that attend PowerPoint presentations weekly, and the assumption that these presentations hold no value for 85% of attendees thus costing companies money from the loss of productive work hours.
So what is the Anti-PowerPoint Party really after? Well, if they can obtain the signatures of 100,000 voters as needed under Swiss law the group can call for a national referendum to ban the use of PowerPoint and other presentation software throughout Switzerland. Additionally the group is free to run candidates in the next national elections in October.
However, the party has a long way to go to meet the 100,000 supporters mark, because since its inception in May it has only signed up 245 members. Additionally, Anti-PowerPoint Party founder and president Matthias Poehm has admitted that he is trying to drum up publicity for his new book, “The PowerPoint Fallacy.” While the Anti-PowerPoint Party is free to join, members must pay for Poehm’s manifesto at the reduced rate of €17, down from the regular price of €27.
Despite what seems to be just a publicity stunt, Poehm claims to have real political ambitions. He has said that the party’s goals include taking the cause global. The first step to making this possible is the number of languages the group’s website is available in, which includes German, French, Italian, Croatian, English, Russian, Slovak and Spanish. Poehm says this will help open up an international dialogue about the PowerPoint issue, and get global support for the movement.
If PowerPoint is out, then what exactly does Poehm suggest stand in as a visual aid during presentations? Poehm suggests taking presentations old school by bringing back that bastion of creativity, the flipchart.